As an activities director this year, I was able to plan and help others with many of the events that took place. However, as the year progressed, I noticed a strange pattern emerging with many of the events. Woofest… Mr. VU… Week of Champions… so many events on campus are geared towards the boys.Let’s take a closer look. Woofest: freshmen and sophomores boys get up on stage and get a chance to show off their talents as the girls sit and watch in the audience. Mr. VU: upperclassmen males get nominated by the student body and are given the opportunity to show off (again) on stage. Week of Champions: A week-long event in which a new sporting events occurs every day. Freshmen and sophomore boys can participate in attempts to become the floor champions.
Instead of Week of Champions, the freshmen girls get to take part in Just As You Are Week, better known as JAYA. JAYA is a week-long event where girls are encouraged to not wear makeup or do their hair in an effort to promote inner beauty and to build confidence not in their looks, but in themselves.
Now, JAYA is an amazing event. It is when my floor really came together and I learned a lot. I would never trade that week for anything. However, I can’t help but wonder- why don’t the girls get a chance to show off? The guys are given multiple opportunities to strut their stuff and leave a trail of swooning girls in their wake as they sing, dance, and tell funny stories or jokes. Girls, on the other hand, talk about inner beauty and share feelings. It all seems a bit archaic to me.
“Guys get to have all this fun, putting together events that the whole school finds phenomenal, while the girls have to sit back and watch. It’s kind of depressing,” freshman Jessica Rushdan said. Unfortunately, it’s true.
Vanguard staff is not oblivious to the situation.
“It’s been talked about a hundred times,” Amanda Lebrecht, Director of Student Success and Retention, said. However, the fear with creating an event such as Mr. VU for women is that it would not be based on service, but on looks. When people think about a pageant for women, they automatically think about attractiveness rather than acts of service to the community.
However, as Ann Hamilton, Vice President of Student Affairs, suggests, we must think in terms of abundance rather than scarcity. We must leave behind the notion that just because someone else has something, we should have it too. There are so many other options that are new and original that are just waiting to be discovered.
“I would encourage women to create new and innovative programs that fit their goals and desires. Just imitating another program doesn’t give the voice women or men need to be who they are. Create something that has not been dreamed of,” Hamilton said.
Ladies on campus, keep pushing and keep asking questions. Let’s start a new tradition.